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Ellison spills over beenz

Splashes out with own cash to back Net currency

Larry Ellison, the deep-pocketed head-honcho of Oracle, is one of a handful of investors to have ploughed $20 million into the UK company behind the Web currency called beenz.

Although Ellison's personal contribution is being kept under wraps, it's believed to be a sizeable wedge. "As an entrepreneur, I have an appreciation for what is trying to accomplish," said Ellison. "My company is all about innovation. is clearly an innovator by developing a true global Internet currency."

According to, Ellison's investment provides a "solid US endorsement of's business". The cash will be used to develop beenz on the Web and to market the product and develop new technology.

The other beenz investors were Japanese communications and retailing company Hikari Tsushin, international merchant banking group Gefinor Group, French holding company Artemis SA and Euro-American venture capital firm Viventures Partners.

"With funding from Hikari, Gefinor, Artemis and Viventures, and Larry Ellison investing his own money, can make a strong statement to the marketplace that we are well on our way to creating a ubiquitous global currency for the Internet," said Philip Letts, chairman and CEO of

Investor interest in beenz was so great it was oversubscribed 300 times, said a source close to the company. ®

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